The mission of the San Diego Unified Council of PTAs is to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all students in the San Diego Unified School District in cooperation with the National PTA, the California State PTA, and Ninth District PTA.
2023-25 SDUCPTA Executive Board
President – Janis Tan – email@example.com
Prior to her election as SDUCPTA president for the 2023-25 term, Janis Tan served on the Council board as communications vice president (2021-23) and parent education committee chair (2021). Her two children attend schools in the Madison and Mission Bay clusters. Janis became active in PTA while her children were students at Barnard Mandarin Magnet Elementary School. She held a number of positions on the Barnard PTA board over the course of her family’s nine years there, including president, vice president, and chair of several committees.
Originally from the Bay Area, Janis has lived in San Diego for more than 20 years and has a professional background in marketing. She earned her undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University and MBA from San Diego State. She has worked as a San Diego Unified School District visiting teacher since her youngest was in kindergarten, enjoying the opportunities to volunteer that the flexible schedule allows and the insight into San Diego’s education system from an educator’s perspective that the position provides.
Janis’ goals as SDUCPTA president are to revitalize family engagement and reaffirm the value of PTA post-pandemic through collaboration with families, schools, and the district.
Vice President – Betsy Mueller – firstname.lastname@example.org
Betsy Mueller currently volunteers as the SDUC of PTAs EVP, Ninth District PTA VP-Education, Chair of the SDUSD Independent Citizens Oversight Committee, San Diego Chapter-Leukemia & Lymphoma Society volunteer, Chair of the Cultural Events Committee at First United Methodist Church. She has held the following officer positions at La Jolla High School PTSA – President (July 2014-June 2015 & July 2010-June 2012), Vice President of Leadership(July 2015 – June 2016), Executive Vice President (July 2012-June 2014), E-News Editor/On-line Newsletter (June 2012 – June 2016). She has volunteered in various positions that began when she was 16 years old as a candy-striper at Grossmont Hospital. Betsy has a B.A.in Psychology from San Diego State University.
Secretary – Kelly Young – email@example.com
Kelly has been teaching upper elementary education in the San Diego Unified School District for over fifteen years. She has a passion for gifted and talented education, culturally responsive teaching, and science education at the elementary level. As the Lead GATE Teacher at her current site, she has made it a priority to establish ongoing communication with GATE families, developing a community of high performing scholars that challenge, engage, and nurture their thirst for knowledge. Kelly has served as Teacher Liaison for the SDUSD GATE District Advisory Committee where she has presented on topics such as GATE Students and Multi-Tiered System of Supports, as well as participated in special committees focused in GATE advocacy and instruction. She has also helped to establish a community outreach program with the Islamic Center of San Diego, presenting about The Importance of Culturally Responsive Teaching to the parent community, establishing youth group readings with multi-cultural book exploration, and creating video Read Along’s during Ramadan throughout the Covid-19 school closures. She was awarded SDUSD’s Elementary Teacher of the Year for 2020, was the recipient of the California Teacher Grant 2020 through California Credit Union, and was an Amplify Science Spotlight Educator in 2021.
Treasurer – Linda Ford – firstname.lastname@example.org
Financial Reviewer – Heather Boye – email@example.com
Outreach – Amy Wood – firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Wood is serving in the second year as Outreach Chair. Prior to joining the Council, Amy helped start Franklin Elementary PTA and has served in a number of different roles on Franklin’s board, including President, Parliamentarian, and Historian. Amy has additionally served on the National PTA Program Committee, first on the School of Excellence subcommittee and then as chair of the STEM+ Families subcommittee. She has been a panelist on a number of National PTA webinars on mental health in school communities and has presented multiple times at the National PTA Convention on National PTA programs. Amy’s goal with PTA is to help families become better informed about issues affecting them, better able to navigate the public school system, and better connected to each other to help create stronger communities.
Amy has two children, one in high school and the other in elementary. A huge sports fan, Amy is a member of the San Diego Wave’s supporter group, the Sirens, and volunteers with her children’s Little League. When she is not spending time with family or watching sports, she can be found reading or writing.
Membership – Kristyn Pittenger – email@example.com
Kristyn is in her second year on the SDUCPTA board as Membership Chair. Born and raised in San Diego, she is passionate about bridging families to schools and helping parents become effective advocates for their children.
Her family is a part of the Mira Mesa Cluster. She served as PTA President at Hage Elementary during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years and is currently the Parliamentarian during her final year at the school. She is also the PBO President for the Class of 2026 at Mira Mesa High School.
She has two children: Evan and Lily. Evan is in 5th grade, and Lily is a sophomore at MMHS. Their family enjoys spending time outdoors, rooting for the Padres, and hanging out with their many pets.
Kristyn grew up in Mira Mesa, is a graduate of USDHS (where she was a cheerleader) and UCSD. She is a Mohs histotechnologist and has worked at Sharp HealthCare for over 20 years.
When she is not at work or “PTA-ing”, she enjoys reading and hiking.
Reflections – David Jiang – firstname.lastname@example.org
David is a life sciences industry expert and a proud father of two kids. One is at University City High School and the other is at Standley Middle School. In addition to serving as the chair for Reflections, David is a member of the SD Unified VAPA Advisory Council, and a Board Member at Genesee Highlands HOA. David graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Grinnell College. He also earned his Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Medicine from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and an MBA with national honors from Emory University. For fun, his family enjoys exploring many places in San Diego, sampling good food, and traveling.
Health & Wellness – Anjali Patel
Anjali Patel is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a food and nutrition educator who creates programs that aim to foster a positive relationship with food and cultural foodways. She believes that food holds much more power than nourishment to the body – it’s identity, belonging and what connects us. Anjali is a mom of 2 children who attend Grant K-8 elementary in Mission Hills.
Why Volunteer for PTA Council?
(This article first appeared in SDUCPTA’s February 2022 newsletter.)
Hopefully, as leaders of your schools’ PTA boards, you already understand and have realized the benefits of involvement at the unit level. You may wonder, though, what are the benefits of getting involved in PTA leadership at the Council level? We understand that the rewards seem less immediate, since Council actions don’t appear to directly affect your children or their schools. However, it is vitally important that engaged and knowledgeable parents volunteer to remain involved at the Council level to improve the outcomes for all children in our district.
1. Put your knowledge and experience to use!
There is often a steep learning curve when it comes to getting involved at the school site and district level to effect change for our students. Many parents find that they are just hitting their stride when, in what seems like a blink of an eye, their elementary school age children move on to middle or high school. While PTA involvement is still critically important at the secondary level, the truth of the matter is that the intensity of engagement required can be much different for our older students. Just as we think we have a handle on how to navigate the district and school administration, our kids don’t seem to need us in that way as much. But what to do with all this hard-won expertise? A great way to put it to work for all children would be to get involved at the Council level.
2. Direct access to district leadership
A significant benefit of being on the Council board is that board members have direct access to district leadership. We meet monthly with the superintendent and share your (and our) concerns with him and his staff. Liaisons from the district and teachers union attend our monthly board meetings. Council PTA is automatically invited to have representatives on the district Calendar Committee, ICOC, and other advisory committees, such as the superintendent search committee. This is the kind of access not always granted to other parent groups.
3. Elevate parent voices
During the debate on whether and when to reopen schools during the pandemic lockdown, our Council president made frequent media appearances to represent families’ and PTA’s views. She was able to do this because of the esteem that the PTA brand has earned over the years. This high visibility and respect strengthens and elevates parent voices, which is even more important during times when it might feel like other powerful interest groups have different agendas.
4. Regret management
It may seem like many education policies or district decisions are out of our hands, but that is really only true if we don’t get involved. And while sometimes change can seem infuriatingly slow, it can only happen at all if dedicated and passionate advocates demand that change. Even if the needle doesn’t move enough to make a direct impact on our children before they graduate, think how we will feel if our grandchildren face the same issues that frustrate us now.
5. Involvement can be as much or as little work as you like
There are so many different ways to get involved, and they can take as much or as little time as you like. There is an opportunity to get involved no matter how much time you are able to commit. Please reach out to us to learn about all the different ways you can help.
We know these past two years have been difficult. Limits on parent access to campuses have made the immediate rewards of volunteering at schools even less obvious, and the stresses of parenting during a global pandemic may make people reluctant to take on anything more. It is in the most challenging times, however, that we need knowledgeable and experienced volunteers more than ever. Please consider joining us to continue to make a difference for your children and all children in our district.